Its unearthing came about by experimentation. I’d been trying to write in various public locations, but if I found a fruitful environment it was only a matter of time until something would drive me away. (A shrill laugh that couldn’t be neutralized by earplugs and headphones; flirting teens who’d repeatedly bump my table; an insistent bladder and remote bathroom, with no one reliable to watch my stuff during my absence.)
These jaunts proved expensive, too. Effectively I was earning temporary office space by paying in time (for my commute) or coin (parking fees, beverages, calorie-dense food.)
I haven’t even mentioned my introversion, which never thrilled to writing in public for extended periods.
Quest for the Ultimate Home Office
It became clear that I was after replicable and inexpensive quiet, which ideally meant writing at home. Unfortunately, my house had become a busy locale, which was the reason I ventured outside of it to write in the first place. No matter how early I woke or how I much I contorted my writing schedule, it never possessed a sense of repose or peacefulness.
Most problematic of all, my office—the only location I could seem to write without falling asleep—had become associated with stalled progress and interruptions. Each time I entered it, I could feel my deadline-driven anxiety rise.
Discovering the Secret Weapon
I don’t recall the exact precipitator, but one day, in a fit of desperation, I wound up in the basement laundry room with my laptop. And suddenly, what felt impossible was being accomplished, albeit in fits and starts. I returned the next day, and the next, and through books 1 and 2, the laundry room never lost its magic. In effect, I ended up discovering the wisdom in the following:
Stop trying to be disciplined and be a good person. Instead, put your efforts into setting up a supportive environment and creating the systems that allow you to follow through with good behaviors.” ~ a paraphrase of Dr. Doug Lisle, Ph.D, during a YouTube seminar on how to make healthful dietary changes become habitual
Why You Might Consider Pursuing an Environmental Writing Hack
Unless you are one of those 5,000-8,000 good-words-in-a-day geniuses or are consistently happy with your writing output, I’d encourage you to spend time and effort on optimizing your environment.
Consider that if you’re able to write 1000 words in a writing session and write 300 days of the year, a 5% improvement—a mere 50 words a day—would mean an extra 15,000 quality words written. A fifth to third of a book without any extra effort.